Good faith insurance practices require your worker's comp insurance company to handle claims in a timely fashion and to pay legitimate bills associated with your worker's comp claim. Bad faith practices occur when insurance companies avoid or delay payment of legitimate claims. Likewise, an insurance company may be acting in bad faith if they:
• Manipulate or hide evidence supporting an injured worker's request for benefits
• Dictate the care that a medical provider can give to an injured worker
• Cut off worker's comp benefits in violation of the state's law on worker's compensation
• Fail to investigate claims in a timely fashion
If you think your insurance company is engaging in any of these bad faith practices, there are several steps that you should take:
• Thoroughly review your insurance policy. Your claim must fall within the limitations and guidelines of your policy. Just because you disagree with your insurance company doesn't mean that the company is acting in bad faith. If you need help reviewing your policy, you might want to contact an specialized attorney.
• Collect Documentation. If you pursue a claim against your worker's comp insurance company, you will need as much documentation as possible. Keep close records of all your interactions with the company and your medical treatments. Be sure to keep copies of any written correspondence generated by you, your company, or your doctors. Record the name of the insurance representatives you talk to on the phone and the date, time, and contents of your conversations.
• Contact Your Director and Commissioner. You should send a letter to the Director of Claims at your insurance company asking them to review your claim. If they refuse, you should contact the Commissioner of the Department of Insurance in your state and ask for them to review your claim.
• Contact an Attorney. If you haven't already, you should contact an attorney who specializes in insurance bad faith and/or workman's comp law. Companies who have failed in their responsibilities to their insured can be held accountable with legal action. When brought to court, companies who have engaged in bad faith practices may be found responsible for paying past claims and for paying damages that you may have incurred in the wake of their negligence.
Most companies are reliable and professional, but bad faith practices within workman's comp insurance companies do still occur. If you have suffered from a company's bad faith, you deserve just compensation and repayment.